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The Rebound Detroit: What you need to know about COVID-19 waivers

Posted at 7:00 AM, Jul 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-16 07:16:14-04

(WXYZ) — Many businesses and organizations are asking customers to sign COVID-19 waivers.

At Accents Cosmetic Surgery in West Bloomfield, Dr. Mark Berkowitz said last month was the busiest month in the business's history.

In addition to greater customer demand, his staff is busy sanitizing and disinfecting every room and high-touch surface after every patient.

"We take every precaution possible," Dr. Berkowitz said. "We take a history on everyone as they come and enter the office, as well."

The new safety measures include COVID-19 waivers. Dr. Berkowitz said the waivers are for the protection of staff and customers.

"I think it's another step to say we care," he said. "We care about you and we care about our staff."

Southfield-based lawyer Johnny Hawkins said even if you have a relationship with the vendor, take the time to read the waiver. Don't just sign without knowing what's on the page.

"You don't want to just arbitrarily sign or just say, 'Okay, I trust what you're saying or what's on paper,'" Hawkins said. "You want to actually look at it, review it and make sure that it makes sense to you."

Many waivers ask customers to sign away their rights to sue if they contract COVID-19. Customers must decide when it's right to assume that risk and how much they want the service the business is providing.

However, you might feel differently about signing the waiver for something like a job or school.

What's most important, however, is that whoever is asking you to sign the waiver is doing their part to fight the spread. If not, it might render the waiver worthless.

"If you then, as the business owner or the merchant, are not doing your part and at least being compliant with the governor's orders, then no, it's not fair," Hawkins said.

Dr. Berkowitz said he and his staff will continue taking extra steps to protect the health of everyone who comes into his office.

"I figure we're going to be this way at least anther year and a half to two years," he said.

Here's the Rebound Rundown:

  • Read the waiver closely – Read any waiver you're asked to sign
  • Is it worth the risk? – Judge whether it's worth the risk
  • Is the business doing their part? – Make sure the business is doing their part, too
  • May not be enforceable – If not, it may make the waiver unenforceable

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.

Visit our The Rebound Detroit, a place where we are working to help people impacted financially from the coronavirus. We have all the information on everything available to help you through this crisis and how to access it.